There are a number of exemptions from various provisions of the Act:

Exemption from the non-disclosure provisions is available in circumstances where the Act recognises that the public interest requires disclosure of personal data which would otherwise be in breach of the Act. Where an exemption from the non-disclosure provisions properly applies, such disclosure would not be in breach of the Act.

The exemptions

The primary exemptions

National Security (Section 28)

If required for the purpose of safeguarding national security, personal data are exempt from any of the provisions of:

Crime and Taxation (Section 29)

Four categories of exemption:

Health, Education and Social Work (Section 30)

Exemption applies to:

These may be exempt from the subject information provisions and other provisions of the Act that may be ordered.

Regulatory Activity (Section 31)

This provides an exemption from the subject information provisions numerous public "watch-dogs" which are all variously concerned with the protection of members of the public, charities or fair competition in business.

Special purposes exemption (Section 32)


The special purposes means:

Section 32 of the Act provides four conditions which must all be present before the processing of personal data for the special purposes can qualify for exemption from some provisions of the Act. The conditions are:

If all the above conditions are present, the data are exempt from various provisions of the Act.

Research, History and Statistics (Section 33)

The processing of personal data for research purposes (including statistical or historical purposes) is exempt, provided that the processing is exclusively for those purposes and, also, that the following conditions are met:

Where the exemption applies:

Information made available to the public by law (Section 34)

If the data controller is obliged - under any enactment - to make data available to the public, personal data are exempt from:

Where the disclosure is required by or under any enactment, by any rule of law or by the order of a court, personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions.

Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions, where the disclosure is necessary for court cases.

Domestic Purposes

This is a wide-ranging exemption whereby personal data are exempt from the Data Protection Principles and the provisions of Part II (individual rights) and Part III (notification) of the Act where they are processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual's personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes).

It should be noted that the exemption does not extend to Part V of the Act which deals with enforcement by the Commissioner.

The miscellaneous exemptions

Various other exemtptions are available, such as confidential references, and judicial and ministerial appointments.

An important exemption is available to businesses to protect confidentiality of personal data processed for the purposes of management forecasting or management planning. In any case, to the extent that the application of any of the subject information provisions to personal data processed for such purposes would be likely to prejudice the conduct of the business or other activity of the data controller, such personal data are exempt from the subject information provisions.

Examination scripts are also exempt from subject access.

Transitional exemptions

Schedule 8 of the Act sets out when the various requirements will come into effect.

Important notice

What you read here is only a summary to introduce the concepts. You should not rely on it to build a legal case or safeguard your legal position. The University of Glamorgan and its employees cannot be held responsible for any legal or other redress due to errors in the notes. Seek professional legal advice before acting on what you read here.

UpOther topics Comments please to: dwfarthi@glam.ac.uk © 1999, University of Glamorgan